Happiness Challenge Wrap Up: Part 2, Meditation

Throughout the 30 Day Happiness Challenge, I managed to meditate at least a little bit every day. Some days it felt like I was just checking off a box. Other days, it really helped me stay focused or make it through the day with an even keel. During the labor and delivery of the twins, I had ample opportunities to put this new practice to use.

While I don’t consider myself to be a very rash or emotional person in general, helping someone through the birthing of a baby is a particularly stressful time. During the labor, there is a lot of someone else in pain and a great deal of waiting. And for the most part, everything feels out of control, or at least out of your control.

Because of my meditation practice, however, I found that I was accepting of these circumstances. I had a decent handle on what I could do to help and whether or not worrying about it would benefit me or Melanie.

Through the early stages of labor, I focused on being present for Melanie, on making sure that she was as comfortable as she could be. When she was rushed to the Operating Room with a breech baby about to come out (a situation very few medical professionals have experience with), I did not feel the need to panic. I knew that I could do nothing about the circumstances, but I could be there for Melanie no matter what the resolution. I give meditation much of the credit for this mindset. I give much of the rest of the credit to our awesome doula, Kathleen, who was a calm, knowledgeable presence the entire time.

The meditative mindset has also come in handy since the birth of the girls. There was a lot of waiting–in the NICU, in the hospital room, in the pediatrician’s office–and I found that my tolerance for the waiting was pretty high.

And then there are the babies. They require a great deal of patience and calm. I often find myself remembering to breathe, to focus on my physical reaction to crying and crying and crying in order to not let that non-stop pressure overwhelm me.

On the whole, then, I would say that the meditation has been essential for my making it through the whole experience with an even keel. From what I have read and heard, the effect of a consistent meditation practice continues to build as you stay consistent with it. I have kept it up but not as purposefully. My streak, according to the Calm app, is just over 40 days. Quite a few of those sessions were just quick trips to falling asleep or napping, but that is useful too. As I start to develop a slightly more regular schedule, I plan on making sure focused meditation has a place in it because I think that will be quite beneficial.

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